Friday, April 24, 2015

Today, even better 50 years later

David recently posted this picture on Facebook along with a line from the 1964 hit "Today" (New Christy Minstrels): "I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine."

I love that song even more than I did fifty years ago, but for different reasons.

Back then it was a sweet love song for the uncommitted. I was 16, living away from home for the first time, falling in love every week (not that the lucky guys were aware of this), living on the edge (if hitchhiking in Italy counts), and thinking I might spend the rest of my life wandering the world. I had no trouble with the line from the second verse, "I'll be a dandy, and I'll be a rover..." As far as I was concerned, "Green, green, it's green, they say, / on the far side of the hill," and I was goin' away to where the grass was greener still.

"Today" is still a sweet love song, but if a million tomorrows haven't all passed away, 18 or 19 thousand have. Now I'd just as soon skip over that second verse and go right to the third:

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine,
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine. 
I can't be contented with yesterday's glory; 
I can't live on promises, winter to spring. 
Today is my moment and now is my story. 
I'll laugh and I'll cry and I'll sing ... 

A few blossoms are still clinging, but people my age had better not live on promises of future springs. And if we're contented with yesterday's glory, we become awful bores. Today is our moment, and now is our story. Let me suggest a rewrite of verse 2 for those of us who came of age in the 60s:

Though now we're grandparents, we still can be lovers.
You’ll know who we are by the songs that we sing. 
You’ll feast at my table, I’ll steal all the covers, 
Who cares what tomorrow shall bring?

Or we can just sing another 60s song, one that hit the charts right about when David and I got engaged:

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